Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – The Late Model division at Stafford Speedway is set to take center stage on Friday, August 17 with the Call Before You Dig 811 Late Model 50 and Tyler Leary is still in search of his first win of the 2018 season.
Leary won 2 races last season at Stafford and he and his #11 Amherst Trucking team have been close to reaching NAPA Victory Lane this season with 7 podium finishes. With an extra 20 laps on tap, Leary is looking forward to the extra distance opportunity.
“We enjoy the extra distance races and our car is better in the last 15 laps of the race,” said Leary. “Last year we had what was at the time our best run of the season going in the CBYD 50 and we got into someone’s gear oil and got into the wall. It always seems like we fare pretty well in the longer distance races and I really like them as well.”
The winner of the CBYD 811 Late Model 50 is guaranteed to take home $1,811 with another $150 in contingency bonuses available. While Leary says the money would be great, the race is all about getting the #11 car back to victory lane, which has been dominated this season by Tom Fearn and the #92 team, who have won 10 of the 15 races thus far.
“That’s definitely a big help and thanks to CBYD for putting up the purse,” said Leary. “Those are the races that you really want to win and you stay motivated for. With the extra money available you work harder on the car and you driver harder, it’s a really good motivator. A win would ease the struggles we’ve been having with the car. To know we can get the car set up right and beat Tommy [Fearn] and have a shot at winning some races at the end of the season would be a plus. Last year once we won our first race, we were pretty much a top-3 car for the rest of the season and I think we can do that again once we get that first win this season.”
Leary came to Stafford as a rookie in 2016 and finished 7th in the points standings with a best finish of 6th. Last season saw Leary win twice at Stafford. Leary says that his 2018 Stafford season has been frustrating but he and the #11 team aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“It’s been very frustrating this year,” said Leary. “Even with how poor we ran our first year with a learning curve and figuring the car out, this has been our most frustrating season. We’re so close we can taste it but at the same time we’re still so far away. We’re all scratching our heads and we keep trying things but we keep finishing second or third. People always ask us why we complain about finishing second or third and the answer is that we’re not at the track to run second or third. All season long I’ve felt like that win is right around the corner for us. We just need to find something. Who knows, we might win next week or we might not get a win at all this season. We’re counting on the setup, we have to find where the car is happy and go from there.”
Although he has yet to reach NAPA Victory Lane this season, Leary is the only Late Model driver to record top-10 finishes in each feature event and he is currently second in the points standing behind Fearn. Leary says he and and his team stopped worrying about the points standings and are focused on what they need to do to get their car back to victory lane this season.
“Right now we’re looking to win some races,” said Leary. “We stopped worrying about points a couple weeks ago and we’ve been throwing the kitchen sink at the car the last couple weeks to try to find something that will help us chase Tommy down and win some races. Our car gets into the corners good, but we’re missing from the center off. I feel like Tommy has his car planted in the center of the corners and he’s able to get back on the gas sooner than the rest of us. If we can get that figured out, I have no doubt that we can run him down. With Tommy having a big lead, it gives us the opportunity to try some things with the car that we wouldn’t normally try being in the points race. It’s a good thing and a bad thing all at the same time.”
Joining the Late Models in feature action will be Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks. Tickets for the August 17 Call Before You Dig 811 50 event are are priced at $20.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $23.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.